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Farmers market moves to Bean campus as Freeport Community Market

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Farmers market moves to Bean campus as Freeport Community Market

FREEPORT — There will be a new farmers market in Freeport this summer hosted by L.L. Bean off Main Street.

The Freeport Community Market will open on May 28 at 3 p.m. at two locations – one at Discovery Park, and the other in the area between the handicapped parking lot and Discovery Park. This new market will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday through October.

Leslie Fitzgerald, the market manager of the Cumberland Farmers Market Association, said she worked as a private contractor for the Bean's market, but it will be facilitated by the CFMA.

The CFMA has held a market in Freeport since 2008. It was first located at the Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers parking lot on the corner of Main and West streets. The next year it moved to the Town Hall parking lot when the offices went to a four-day work week.

This year, the Town Council advised Town Manager Dale Olmstead to negotiate terms with the CFMA for use of the Town Hall parking lot.  By the next meeting, representatives of the CFMA thanked the council for the use of the lot in 2009, but said they would move to the Bean's location for the 2010 season.

"We were going to host the two markets in Freeport this year, but as we saw the scope of the L.L. Bean market grow, we decided to focus our energy on the large-scale market," Fitzgerald said. "This way, other farmers can have an opportunity to use the town's parking lot to set up a market there."

Carolyn Beem, spokeswoman for L.L. Bean, said the Freeport Community Market is an  opportunity for local farmers and vendors to make connections with the community and visitors. The market is primarily hosted by Bean, she said, and will appeal to visitors and community members.

"We have been interested in using the area for a market and other community events since the Outlet Store moved to the Village Station," Beem said. "This is one more opportunity to use the space like a town square."

Fitzgerald said Bean approached her in January to set up the market. By February, she said the "ball was rolling."

"I never thought Bean's would offer us the space, but we are excited to expand in this way," she said."It is not typical for us, but will be a lot of fun."

The Freeport Community Market will be similar to the Crystal Springs market in Brunswick or the Portland farmers markets, she said: more of a destination market.

"Usually, we have a few vendors sell to a few small communities, Yarmouth, Gray, Falmouth and Cumberland," she said. "We focus on the nurturing, comforting aspects of a small community market where the customer knows the farmer. We practice farm sustainability and community sustainability."

Of the 37 members of the CFMA, there will be 34 vendors participating in the Freeport Community Market from 16 towns and six counties, Fitzgerald said. Seven of the 34 vendors are from Freeport. Like all the markets, there will be crafts, vegetables, meat, and specialty items.

The CFMA will host five markets, five days a week in Gray, Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport  and Yarmouth.

"This is a new market, with new faces and a few feel," Fitzgerald said.

Amy Anderson can be reached at781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net